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What do you think - is our DVD player broken? - 1 to 4
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Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Wed 2nd Jul '08 12:09PM
1673 Posts
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Member Since
3rd Jun '03
Well, that time of year has come around again, when everything in our house breaks. There was the bathroom light switch (now fixed), the iron (still works but inexplicably stopped being waterproof), and now our trusty DVD player. To be fair, it lasted about 3 years, which is a very long time indeed for something in the Kelly/Malcolm household.

But I'm not sure. The thing is, it's started behaving oddly, and I really can't face a protracted series of wondering what's going wrong and trying to figure out a solution. Life's too short. (My life is, anyway.) But it occurred to me that the oddnesses it's exhibiting might actually both be symptoms of the same problem, and if so, I could probably conclude that it's definitely broken, without months of fannying about. (that was fannying in its work-safe meaning, by the way.)

Behold the symptoms:
  • Subtitles have started being turned on by default - sometimes in English and sometimes in a random other language. This was particularly entertaining on the Virtual Fireplace DVD ("Crackle").
  • 5.1 surround sound no longer seems to work. It's still connected via a digital (coaxial) connection to the surround receiver, and the left & right come through, but the surround receiver no longer recognises the Dolby Digital stream at all. I don't think it's the receiver at fault because you can indeed enable Dolby Digital on it, but when the DVD starts playing it reverts back, just as it does on non-surround discs. However, there's no real way of checking because none of our other devices outputs Dolby Digital at all, to my knowledge.

I was thinking these were completely unconnected things until it occurred to me that they both relate to settings that you can choose in the DVD player setup menu. I keep re-selecting them but it makes no difference. So I thought, presumably such preferences are stored in a little bit of memory in it somewhere, and if it's that little memory function that's on the blink, that would neatly explain both of the above problems. And would suggest that further such errors are likely to come along before too long.

Techy people, I ask of you - does this sound plausible? If so, then it's an easy solution (either by replacing some internal battery or by replacing the machine itself) - but if not, then I've got no idea whether the surround machine is broken too, or what's going on...
   

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 2nd Jul '08 1:15PM
811 Posts
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8th Aug '06


Malcolm was bold enough to comment:
the iron (still works but inexplicably stopped being waterproof)


Admittedly, I don't do a lot of ironing, but shouldn't you use it above the water?


stuff don't work


It sounds to me like the settings problem. Are the settings that you choose in the setup menu the same when you next use it or are they back to the default default settings? Presumably you haven't missed a "save" option in the settings.

Your thinking seems to be correct on the memory being wiped out by the battery. Do you turn it off at the wall or unplug it when you've finished watching it, or just leave it in standby. If in standby, it should keep the memory settings chip powered and keep your settings. If not, then it'll possibly have a small watch-battery inside it somewhere to keep the memory settings. I'd go with opening it up and checking on the battery and if it's flat, replace it. If there isn't a battery, then I'd try keeping it in standby mode (if it's got one) rather than hard-powering-off.
  

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Thu 3rd Jul '08 8:40PM
1673 Posts
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Member Since
3rd Jun '03
Thanks Gonzo. It's normally just left in standby as we can't reach the plug, so it sounds as though it's not supposed to need a battery, so there won't be one to replace.

...Which was what got me looking on Amazon for a new DVD player. I found that the model we have (very good until now) was still available, along with a fractionally different one. On doing a search on Videohelp.com to find out what the differences were, I noticed people talking about this surround sound problem... and from there, following a load of links back to the Philips website, it turns out that both of the bugs we are now experiencing have been present in the machine all along, but only manifest themselves when you connect an HD TV to it. Which we've only been doing for the last couple of months. Which is how long we've noticed the problems for.

And it gets better: the website contained a file you could download, burn onto a CD, stick in the DVD drive and it would update itself, not only fixing both the problems but generally improving lots more of it as well. It had never even occurred to me that a humble DVD player was upgradeable. But to summarise: I'm very pleased!

Buying new things is all very well and fun, but there are times when not having to do so is vastly preferable.

Just thought I'd report back as I think there's a lesson here - always look for an upgrade/patch before deciding something's broken.

And for the sake of posterity, it's a Philips DVP5960. And I'd highly recommend them. As long as you install the upgrade.
   

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Fri 4th Jul '08 10:37AM
811 Posts
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Member Since
8th Aug '06
Excellent. Good work Malcolm! Didn't think that it was a bug and a firmware upgrade didn't even occur to me. Sometimes it's a little worrying how disposable we have made most of our consumer purchases - the vast majority of people in your situation would have just gone out and bought another DVD player.
  

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